In more than 100 photographs, As It Is captures the Toronto landmark at a physical, political and economic crossroads
On September 14, a launch party at 401 Richmond marked the official release of As It Is: A Precarious Moment in the Life of Ontario Place. The self-published book by architectural and documentary photographer Steven Evans features a collection of black-and-white photographs captured by Evans himself from November 2021 to June 2023, along with a series of essays centred around the site and its history. In his preface, Evans states that the photographs “Show Ontario Place at a physical, political and economic crossroads. It is an important moment to record it comprehensively, to understand it as it was, as it is, and to thoughtfully consider what it might become.”
The book’s timely release aligns with controversial advancements in the Ontario government’s plan to reshape Ontario Place’s public purpose – developer Therme Canada released updated design renderings of the project in August. Whether a bid to reconsider its transformation or simply a gesture to honour its past, As It Is challenges readers to look beyond the park’s tangible value and to embrace its unique sense of place.
Six sections sequenced throughout the book’s 160 pages explore nearly the entire site, including Eberhard Zeidler’s iconic architecture, the abandoned Wilderness Adventure Ride and the success story that is Trillium Park and the William G. Davis Trail.
Beyond all else, this comprehensive book traces the evolution of a pivotal landmark along the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto. By examining the historical, architectural, and cultural aspects of Ontario Place, As It Is provides a compelling narrative that underscores the site’s importance in shaping the identity of Toronto and the collective memories of its residents. Understanding this iconic site is crucial for appreciating how it has woven its legacy into the fabric of the city, contributing to Toronto’s unique character and cultural future. $50, at Swipe Design.